One of the populations I work with in my coaching practice is Baby Boomers. They are feeling stuck in their current job, are seeking a new job or career, or are confused as to why they are not getting the promotions or plum assignments.
Due to their years of experience, they should be knocking the cover off the ball, but instead feel irrelevant and disrespected .Why is this happening?
Although I am not a fan of stereotyping, I do think that we Boomers can operate from a set of certain assumptions such as, “Hard work will pay off”, “My work should speak for itself”, “Loyalty will be rewarded”. Unfortunately, some of our assumptions about what will bring on the rewards are out of step with current thinking on how to position yourself in the market place.
For example, the concept of loyalty has been steadily losing ground due to the fact that it is impossible for companies to continue to offer job security. Employability has become the more important concept for employees to be concerned about now. That should change your focus more towards yourself and how to be more employable. Of course these are skills that companies are looking for too, so acquiring these skills can be a “win-win” What can I do to be more employable, to be adaptable, flexible?
We need to ask ourselves if our preconceived notions are serving us well. If not, we need to let them go and do something different!
Consider taking an honest inventory of yourself and see if any of these apply to you. Ask yourself what message you may be sending to a potential employer- including someone within your current company. In my experience, these are some of the main issues I see:
1) Lack of updated skills
Again, there are many misconceptions around older workers but the reality is that many Baby Boomers are highly skilled in using new technologies, agile when it comes to a changing workplace, and more committed and engaged than their younger counterparts. You need to demonstrate this by staying relevant.
Keep up with the latest information and tools in your field. Subscribe to, and read, blogs. Consider writing one in your field of expertise. Attend webinars, seminars, conferences and networking opportunities. Read books, magazines and publications in your industry and subscribe to email newsletters in your field.
2) Lack of an online presence
Like it or not, social media is here to stay. Embrace it and make social media work for you! Get informed and involved. At the very least learn how to use LinkedIn and develop a profile. There are many resources; books, online articles, to help you get started. Be aware of the power of LinkedIn in showcasing your personal brand, positioning yourself as an expert and attracting opportunities. In addition, potential employers will check you out on social media before they ever meet you; statistics show that between 43% – 56% of employers will do so.
3) Lack of confidence ; they do not embrace or own their story
If you are trying to compete on the same level with a much younger person you are doomed to fail! Don’t compete, differentiate! Accept who you are, where you are and sell THAT brand!
When you interview for a new position, it’s up to you to convince those in charge of hiring that you’re just as passionate, energetic, adaptable and technologically savvy as those half your age and in addition, experienced! It begins with the first impression. Like it or not, both men and women of any age are judged initially on their appearance. If you’re older, you need to convey the impression that you’re mature and experienced but also an energetic and enthusiastic individual who’s eager for new challenges.
We are not talking about looking younger; we are talking about looking vital, healthy, relevant! If your look is tired and 10 years out of date, interviewers will wonder if your business skills are out of date, too.
Baby boomers have experience, a depth of knowledge and maturity that can be a great benefit to an employer. Show you are accountable, responsible and savvy in ways that younger workers have yet to achieve. Take advantage of your strengths and make sure they are on display for your employer, coworkers and future employers to see.